From the Flash Stash: I Have to Quit Commuting! (originally published in The Burlesque Press Variety Show)

The special effect: now and then I dream I am trying to drive a car from the back seat. I am alone in the car and the whole tableaux__ me, the car, the road and all the light of the world__ are rolling into a vanishing iris wipe. 

I dream that I forget in which direction I am headed. The road splits. I panic and take an exit unknown to me. It doesn’t make any difference.

The entropy effect: sometimes I dream that my car changes from a thing I can drive to a thing that cannot be driven. This happens while I am driving and sends me into a screaming red panic.

I dream I’m returning to my car and it’s not there. Nothing’s there. I need help. I park myself in the vacant spot and try to flag down strangers. They turn tail and run.

I dream I’ll have to teach Jack Kerouac’s On the Road every semester for the rest of my sorry life. This happens when I’m awake too and causes me to tremble. I must lie down for a while.

The doppelganger effect: sometimes I dream that the car I know has been replaced by a car I don’t know, but in many ways, it’s the same car, except for the menacing grill.

I’m in the back seat again. There’s no front seat and I’m trying to reach the gas and the brakes with my feet. Sometimes they are bare. Sometimes in slippers. The car is filling up with water. The steering wheel is in my hands; we’re floating in space.

I dream that I fall asleep while driving, and then I dream that I am still driving. No wait. Not a dream.

—I tell her every single word of this and I add what I know to be true. Dream changes are not like real life changes, not like unexpected happenings that can alter a person’s life, or a family’s, or a whole culture’s. I am not a fool. But sometimes I get frightened.

The calming effect: she says that I should dream lucidly. “The next time the rubber meets the road,” she says, “you just step on the gas and be a hero, babe. That’s all you got to do.”

—Wayne Cresser

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